Youth ‘N Power’s message remains true and powerful despite Federal Court ruling

Last week, a federal court in Washington D.C. said that the Army Corps of Engineers’ oversight of Line 3 was good enougheven though Enbridge’s tar-sand oil pipeline breached three different aquifers in the Mississippi River watershed and spilled drilling sludge 28 times, polluting 21 different water crossings.

All too often, the law doesn’t work for people. One agency says it doesn’t have to make its own decision because it relied on the conclusions of a second agency. The second agency says it didn’t have to do its own research because it can just take the word of the money-motivated corporation. And no one really accounts for the fact that the corporation (Enbridge) has a long and nasty habit of lying. 

Instead, a court takes a look afterward and says that the agency’s work wasn’t the best, but it’s good enough to be good enough. 

This judicial rubber stamping is no comfort. 

But what we can celebrate and what sets this court case apart from others is that MNIPL’s Youth ‘N Power showed up. 

In 2021, they filed materials in the D.C. case describing the effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions and climate change on Minnesota in general and North Minneapolis in particular. 

They connected the historic practice of race-based redlining to today’s still-segregated temperature islands. 

They told the Army Corps, Enbridge, and the federal court that their lived truth of environmental racism can only be remedied by environmental anti-racism. 

They spoke their truths to power. 

MNIPL was honored to help these young leaders raise their voices. We cannot be more proud of them and look forward to the promise of their leadership and imagination. The structures are broken, but the kids are alright. 

Photo: The North Minneapolis Youth ‘N Power Team delivering an Amicus Brief to Attorney General Keith Ellison at the Minnesota State Capitol in 2021. Read the press release and watch the Facebook video of the press conference.